The entire staff at What's Up Dog? understands the importance of doing things right, from puppy acclimation to competition obedience, and selecting the right food or even toys for your dog.  What's Up Dog? is the only choice for professional dog training - food and nutritional products - serving Niceville, Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Panama City Beach.  Put our experience to work for you!

We have dog training programs to fit nearly any need.  Our professional trainers work several disciplines including Basic and Advanced Dog Obedience, Tracking, Trailing, Scent/Odor Detection (including Diabetes Alert), IPO/Schutzhund, Personal Protection Dogs, and Police K9.  Staff Trainers are certified from Military and Law Enforcement Training Facilities.  Our training facility is located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida with 6300 SqFt of indoor space plus outdoor areas.  


MEET THE TRAINERS ... 

Steve with his Dutch Shepherd Rik von Herder Haus, IPO2, NDD, PDD

Steve with his Dutch Shepherd Rik von Herder Haus, IPO2, NDD, PDD

Steve Kotowske

AKC Certified Evaluator - American Kennel Club, Canine Good Citizen
Certified Obedience Instructor - (AK9I) American K9 Interdiction

Certified Narcotics Detection Instructor - (AK9I)
Certified Patrol Handler - (AK9I)

Member - (APDT) Association of Professional Dog Trainers
Member - (GSDCA-WDA) German Shepherd Dog Club of America - Working Dog Association
Member - (NACSW) National Association of Canine Nose Work
Training Director - Healing Paws for Warriors, Inc.

Steve has a diverse background that were all building blocks to his expertise in the dog raising, training field.  As a child, his family bred German Shepherd Dogs for Police K9 placement in St. Petersburg, FL.  They placed several dogs into working roles and show homes.  Steve was a professional chef for nearly 17-years which served as a platform to learn about food and nutrition.   After a career change and the opportunity to own a successful kitchen design company for a number of years, Steve decided to take his passion for dogs to a new level.  It was at that time he moved from hobbyist to professional - he first opened Von Herder Haus Kennels, Sniff Check Advanced Canine Detection, and eventually the What's Up Dog? Obedience training center.


Steve is a Certified Obedience Trainer, Instructor.   He has also completed and certified in Narcotics Detector Dog Trainer Course and Patrol Detector Dog Handler Course while attending the training academy at American K9 Interdiction in Carrsville, VA  - one of the top facilities in the US for supplying Military Working Dogs to the DOD and the UK, as well as Police K9's throughout the US.

While known for his breeding and showing of top West German Show Line German Shepherd Dogs in the German SV arena, Steve is also a working dog trainer and breeder as well.  He is a member of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America - Working Dog Association and as such gets the opportunity to compete at a high level against his peers.  His passion for dogs extends beyond just German Shepherd dogs, he also raises and trains Dutch Shepherds for placement as Personal Protection Dogs and Police K9 Working Dogs.  His work in Schutzhund/IPO, and Police K9 Training have earned him honors of training alongside Police K9 teams in Narcotics Detection, Tracking and All Phases of Protection.  This type of specialized training translates well when clients are just looking for well behaved dogs or a Personal Protection Dog that must perform in the real world.

Beyond training Police K9 and Protection Dogs, 
Steve is the local expert on canine nutrition, and has led nutrition seminars for members of the United States Police Canine Association.  Service Dog training came into play with detection work - the same principles used for learning to distinguish a particular scent in narcotics is applied to the Diabetes Alert Dog which is where the passion started.  Training Competitive Level Obedience coupled with skills for living in the real world of the client like a Personal Protection Dog, all put together with doing specific tasks like Stability Assist, Fetching, Opening Doors, Turning on Lights, etc... were a natural fit for Steve's passion to help people.  He has partnered with Healing Paws for Warriors, Inc. to not only help source dogs, but to serve as Training Director and provide solid, well trained, Service Dogs to American Veterans.

Steve is a family guy and has a wife, 3 sons, and a daughter.   At home he has German Shepherd Dog, a Tiny Toy Poodle and a Maltese, plus a Tuxedo Cat named Buddy.  He has lived in the area for over 20 years.  He is as close to a native as you're likely to find, and he takes pride in community service.


Corey Rawles

Corey with his former partner K9 Nero, NDD

Corey with his former partner K9 Nero, NDD

Corey comes to What's Up Dog? by way of the Walton County Sheriff's Office where he served as a Sheriff's Deputy and K9 Handler.  While on duty with WCSO, he had 2 different dogs - Nero, a Dutch Shepherd and Faro, a German Shepherd Dog.  Corey was also the department's agitator/decoy for protection and bite training.

Corey trained as a PSP Decoy at Kasseburg Canine Training Center in Alabama under the highly esteemed K9 trainer Pam Rogers.  The method of training that is taught at Kasseburg was developed by the German Police School - Ladespolizeischule fur Diensthundfuhrer - and brought to the United States to train anti-terrorist teams.  This training is one of the toughest in the world, and has taught Corey how to recognize potential in a protection dog.  This keen eye for protection work, plus the skills to implement a training program that will bring the most out of a dog helps to further set What's Up Dog? apart from other training facilities who only teach obedience.

Corey grew up in the north end of Walton County and is a good ole boy through and through.  He enjoys a little deer sausage on the grill just about as much as he loves training dogs.